Possibly not a stepmom much longer - Page 2 - Mothering Forums

Forum Jump: 
Reply
 
Thread Tools
#31 of 60 Old 07-21-2008, 01:35 PM
 
mild_adventurer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Near Lake Champlain, Vermont
Posts: 235
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by kkj323 View Post
Bipolar or not, that's pretty selfish behavior.
KKJ put it perfectly.

MY XH is bi-polar. He's slow-cycling and very high functioning, but mentally-ill nonetheless.

The thing that helped me most was my counselor helping me to separate the personality-driven behavior from the illness-driven behavior.

I was more than willing to be kind and caring and helpful and sympathetic as he worked through the symptoms of his illness. However, I was not willing to be talked down to, disrespected, verbally abused or manipulated in any way.

One day I realized I was married to a self-serving, self-righteous, MEAN jerk and bi-polar or not, that was his personality.

Separation and divorce followed...

I'm not saying that my way should be your way, but remember, even though he's sick, he's still a grown-up and he should be held to the same standards other grown-ups are held to.

+ = (4/97) & (1/99) & (8/99) & (2/01), with , the prettiest pup this side of the Mississippi.
mild_adventurer is offline  
#32 of 60 Old 07-21-2008, 01:49 PM
 
KalamazooMom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Kalamazoo, naturally!
Posts: 689
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by violet_ View Post

Well, it's been a month since then, we had the kids the entire time of all this hurt, and somehow held everything together and the kids felt very secure and happy. So this week my husband says he's not changing his mind, he doesn't want kids, and since he knows I do want kids, he wants to divorce!
Oh, I'm so sorry to read this.

You know it sounds to me like perhaps he was looking for something to justify a divorce. Like he wants out because he thinks it's easier, or he just can't deal with it anymore, or whatever. And the kid thing is a convenient reason to justify ending it.
KalamazooMom is offline  
#33 of 60 Old 07-21-2008, 02:13 PM
 
UptownZoo's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: In the monkey cage...
Posts: 2,349
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Oh, sweetie. I'm so, so sorry. You've had a couple of life's most painful experiences stacked right on top of each other. I'm probably not the only one here who wishes I could take you out for coffee and let you pour it all out.

The best I can do here, though, is to tell you what has helped me. The book Stop Walking on Eggshells has been a Godsend. It's aimed at people affected by people with Borderline Personality Disorder, which is in many, many ways very similar to bipolar disease. They're so similar that most people with borderline are misdiagnosed as having bipolar for a few years after they enter the mental health system.

Anyway, the book (and its companion workbook) has been hugely helpful for me in learning to take care of myself, building stronger boundaries, and identifying what I really want and need. I started working on this stuff because my sister (who lives with us) has borderline pd, but the skills have improved all of my relationships.

computergeek2.gif

UptownZoo is offline  
#34 of 60 Old 07-21-2008, 03:00 PM
 
DanishMom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Denmark
Posts: 943
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by UptownZoo View Post
Oh, sweetie. I'm so, so sorry. You've had a couple of life's most painful experiences stacked right on top of each other. I'm probably not the only one here who wishes I could take you out for coffee and let you pour it all out.
Yeah to that! Actually I'd like to cook your favorite food and let you rest under a blanket on the couch. I hope you have someone IRL to support and take care of you.

Anyway - I just wanted to let you know that I'm thinking about you a lot. Please keep us updated.

Anne
DanishMom is offline  
#35 of 60 Old 07-21-2008, 03:28 PM
 
Phoenix~Mama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Lehigh Valley, PA
Posts: 5,306
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by DanishMom View Post
Yeah to that! Actually I'd like to cook your favorite food and let you rest under a blanket on the couch. I hope you have someone IRL to support and take care of you.

Anyway - I just wanted to let you know that I'm thinking about you a lot. Please keep us updated.

Anne
I definitely have to say ditto to that... wish you lived closer and I'd offer to take you out for coffee or something... anything to get you out of the house and mind off things for a little while.

ribbonpurple.gif  Proud Single Mama, Birth & Postpartum Doula

Student, Aspiring CNM 
treehugger.gif  DD ~ 1/7/09   shamrocksmile.gif  DS ~ 9/22/10

Phoenix~Mama is offline  
#36 of 60 Old 07-21-2008, 06:59 PM
 
kellygirl's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: florida
Posts: 158
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Violet- I am sorry you are going through this. My first husband left me after 11 years of marriage. I just had a baby and he was an officer in the military. He went away to Japan and started seeing someone else. Anyway, my first husband did want our baby at first. He only sees her once a month now and lives over 2 hours away. I never thought I would see myself divorced at 30 years old with a two year old. I went in denial and became depressed. My first husband was someone I had known since I was in 5th grade. My ex ended up marrying the girl after they both got kicked out of the military. I was so upset for many years as I pieced my life back together. I ended up meeting the most wonderful man in the whole world who became my current husband. He treats me like gold and has become the best father to my daughter. My whole family loves him and we have been married for 4 years. I had my second daughter at 36 and am now working on baby #3 after 3 m/c's. I am currently 38 years old and confident I will have at least one more child. My hubby now would take ten if he could. Also, my hubby has a son from a prior marriage (His ex-wife is working on her 4th marriage) My stepson lives in a very unstable life with the mom. My current hubby sees his son 2-3 times a week and never misses a doctors appointment for any of our kids. My point is this, you are not too old. Your husband should be kissing the ground you walk on. You sound like a kind and loving person. People used to tell me I deserved better but I loved my first husband. It took me about 4 years to let go of the pain. Now, I see things clearly, I was too good of a person for my first husband. You have to decide when enough is enough. You will find someone to love you I promise. You are special.
kellygirl is offline  
#37 of 60 Old 07-21-2008, 10:55 PM
 
Irishmommy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: In the bat cave with heartmama
Posts: 45,947
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Irishmommy is offline  
#38 of 60 Old 07-30-2008, 09:46 AM
 
DanishMom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Denmark
Posts: 943
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
I've been thinking about you Violet. How are you doing?

Anne
DanishMom is offline  
#39 of 60 Old 07-30-2008, 10:38 AM
 
kittn's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: In a perpetual letdown
Posts: 1,377
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)

Annemarie ~catholic mom of 8 -4 boys (19-16-10-7).Emma)2 girls (3 and 1)Someone new due in April too!An yes I Blog @ You Leave me breadless blog
kittn is offline  
#40 of 60 Old 07-30-2008, 03:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
violet_'s Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 1,199
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by DanishMom View Post
I've been thinking about you Violet. How are you doing?

Anne
Thanks.

I actually stopped reading here for a while because I'm not sure I'm a stepmom anymore, and I'm certainly not a "real" mom either. But I popped in today and saw your and kittn's thoughtful notes!

It's been so painful. I think the baby thing was just an excuse. He fessed up recently that when he said no babies he had mentally decided to quit the whole relationship (10 days after m/c of a very planned pregnancy!) and now he says he's open but not sure what he wants.

Last night he called the kids and chatted with them while I was on the couch next to him, but he didn't even offer to let me say hi. And he has taken over all contact with his ex. I mean, it's ok with me if he contacts her (obviously -- heck, it's easier for me if he does it), but I'm just suddenly shut out of the whole coparenting thing. I have no idea of anything going on with the kids anymore. Snap. Just like that.

We are in therapy, and so much came up! He pretty much resents me for everything in his life right now, and hopefully him realizing that resentment will help quell it, as it's hard to justify resenting me for stuff I didn't do. Like he resents me because he can't see the kids every day. Mind you, the reason he can't see them every day is that he got fired and had to move. He sees them more with me than he could without, because I buy lots of plane tickets he can't afford. So here I am paying for all that and taking care of them all summer and I get hit with it being my fault he can't see them. He even said he wished he was still married to his ex "just to be able to see the kids." (I suppose she'd have followed his job change in that case.) I mean, thanks a lot for that -- and what about our kid that we just lost? His new spin is that I'm controlling, so he tries to do silly and/or expensive stuff to see if I try to "control" him by asking him not to.

Oh, and somehow it's a control issue that I own the house we live in. (Um, hello -- you have debt and you pay child support..) If I didn't own this house we'd be renting. I forget sometimes how important those things can be to men. I mean, yes, I own it, but I don't treat him as a tenant! He makes decisions for it, decorates and chooses things, same as me. We both live here and we both have a say.

But, not to sound all negative -- him realizing he's resenting me over stuff I had nothing to do with is actually possibly very good, and will hopefully be helpful. Therapy was really useful already, and we've only had one joint session so far. A lot came up. Including his expectation of me being a perfect stepmom. He always told me he could never be with someone who resented his kids, and I took it to heart. I figure I have to pretend they poop sunshine and roses at times. But I do love them and we get along great, so this is pretty easy. The part that always bugged me is to have no apparent distaste for the situation in general. Like I have to pretend I always wanted to be a stepmom and just love having his ex forever linked to us. I mean, obviously I'm ok with it, but I don't see why I should have to never have an imperfect emotion over it all. So he spent a long time yesterday telling me I don't have to be perfect and I'm a fantastic stepmom, etc.

Job prospect is looking up a bit, but still nothing solid. At least if he gets a job here we can continue therapy and see if we can work it out, but if he leaves for a job away I think it's done.


I guess the two-career issue (three careers if you figure the kids are tethered to their mom's job and we can't go too far) plus the blended family is a lot to take on, especially as in his case, in the almost total absence of support from family and friends. So a lot came out, and hopefully we'll figure all this out. For what it's worth, I still love him dearly and prefer his company to anyone else on the planet. Even now we cuddle and relax and there is sweetness there, albeit mixed with total and complete confusion.

violet_ is offline  
#41 of 60 Old 07-30-2008, 03:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
violet_'s Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 1,199
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Oh, and I just learned that back in the 30s, my grandmother had a baby who only lived a few days. Her husband kind of flipped, said he couldn't go through that again, and no more babies. Then he left to a far away state for a year, killing the marriage. She then went on to marry someone really awful and have 5 kids.

I think we tell men too much - I mean, in her case, he had to know, but in mine I didn't have to let him know I was pregnant so early. Maybe they just can't handle things like that?


oh, this just started a new page. My longer post about how things are now is on the previous page at the end.

violet_ is offline  
#42 of 60 Old 07-30-2008, 03:44 PM
 
Oriole's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: by the ocean, lakes and mountains
Posts: 4,388
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
*hugs* Hang in there!

New endeavor coming soon...
Raising Alice in Wonderland (DSD, 17), and in love with a Superman
Oriole is offline  
#43 of 60 Old 07-30-2008, 03:46 PM
 
jeca's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Dark side of the Moon
Posts: 9,021
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
jeca is offline  
#44 of 60 Old 07-30-2008, 03:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
violet_'s Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 1,199
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by mooninjune68 View Post

Protect yourself, but stop overfunctioning in the relationship. Step back, do your work, get some grief counseling, and let him figure it out.
The overfunctioning line struck a chord with me. I have opted to take care of things rather than have them not be taken care of, and I'm trying to stop.

Unfortunately, my first attempt at not stepping in involved health insurance, and without my input he purchased a plan that was $1000/yr over the identical plan through a different company. So it's painful to step back and see waste like that, but I'm stepping way back on those matters. It's not my health insurance and I'm not paying for it (directly) after all. I've not been sending cards and treats to the kids as I usually do -- they will have to wait until their dad decides to do so. I am not helping out with his ex anymore either. They can deal with each other themselves. And, I'm going out of town for a week with a friend. Not to anyplace fun, unfortunately, as we need to visit family (ill family), but anyway I'm taking a small break.

violet_ is offline  
#45 of 60 Old 07-30-2008, 03:52 PM
 
Phoenix~Mama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Lehigh Valley, PA
Posts: 5,306
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)


I feel for you Violet. Your DH sounds like he is going through a lot of childish thoughts... And has taken you for granted. Not cool.

I wish I had something amazing to say to you, but I just want to give you a big hug.

Thinking of you...

ribbonpurple.gif  Proud Single Mama, Birth & Postpartum Doula

Student, Aspiring CNM 
treehugger.gif  DD ~ 1/7/09   shamrocksmile.gif  DS ~ 9/22/10

Phoenix~Mama is offline  
#46 of 60 Old 07-30-2008, 05:14 PM
 
DanishMom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Denmark
Posts: 943
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Thanks for your reply Violet. I really had been thinking a lot about how you were doing.

It sounds like he has a lot of unresolved feelings about getting divorced and moving away that he takes out on you. I can't remember when you moved away from his daughters but it sounds a lot like he is in grieve - grieving the loss of being physically closer to them.

I'm sorry that he seems to shot you out from the hole co-parenting thing and didn't let you talk to the kids. I think he is angry with himself but is projecting that anger on to you.

I really understand that you would find it easier if he hadn't had children and an ex-wife but that is probably difficult for him to comprehend - especially if he is grieving and feels guilty too.

I'm glad to hear that the therapy seems to be good for you. I hope you'll find peace in your life soon.



Anne
DanishMom is offline  
#47 of 60 Old 07-30-2008, 05:59 PM - Thread Starter
 
violet_'s Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 1,199
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by DanishMom View Post
Thanks for your reply Violet. I really had been thinking a lot about how you were doing.

It sounds like he has a lot of unresolved feelings about getting divorced and moving away that he takes out on you. I can't remember when you moved away from his daughters but it sounds a lot like he is in grieve - grieving the loss of being physically closer to them.

I'm sorry that he seems to shot you out from the hole co-parenting thing and didn't let you talk to the kids. I think he is angry with himself but is projecting that anger on to you.

I really understand that you would find it easier if he hadn't had children and an ex-wife but that is probably difficult for him to comprehend - especially if he is grieving and feels guilty too.

I'm glad to hear that the therapy seems to be good for you. I hope you'll find peace in your life soon.



Anne
Thanks, yes I'm sure he is grieving. I was wondering yesterday if I need to give him "permission" to miss the kids and he needs to give me permission to not miss them! It's been about a year since he moved away (I was already here). I wonder if the baby issue was guilt over seeming to replace his kids? Maybe I'm reading too much into it but that's how it feels.

He's from a Catholic tradition, so a lot of this is guilt from the previous relations. I'm not sure why I don't inspire such guilt, though.

violet_ is offline  
#48 of 60 Old 07-30-2008, 06:07 PM
 
DanishMom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Denmark
Posts: 943
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by violet_ View Post
Thanks, yes I'm sure he is grieving. I was wondering yesterday if I need to give him "permission" to miss the kids and he needs to give me permission to not miss them! It's been about a year since he moved away (I was already here). I wonder if the baby issue was guilt over seeming to replace his kids? Maybe I'm reading too much into it but that's how it feels.

He's from a Catholic tradition, so a lot of this is guilt from the previous relations. I'm not sure why I don't inspire such guilt, though.
I think you are absolutely right. Very complicated!
DanishMom is offline  
#49 of 60 Old 07-30-2008, 08:05 PM
 
mama41's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 1,058
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Violet, I hope you will remember throughout these sessions, and throughout his blaming you, that he is ill. It took me years to learn not to get into an argument with a mentally ill person, and not to take personally whatever was said. You're very close to the situation and are used to talking to your sane and wonderful friend, and the tendency, I think, is to try to make whatever's being said into part of a reasonable conversation. But he is not having a reasonable conversation. See if you can step back from it. You are not responsible for his actions, his guilt, his neurochemistry, etc.

You may want to contact his ex and let her know, on the qt, that he's been ill. Chances are she's already wondering, and she may have ways of protecting the kids. Also, if you're suddenly out of touch, the kids may be wondering why, and it would be nice if she had something to tell them. This is all, of course, assuming that she's a reasonably politic person.
mama41 is offline  
#50 of 60 Old 07-31-2008, 05:52 PM
 
pinetree's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 400
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Violet, I just have to ask... why are you allowing yourself to take blame for his problems?

Seriously... you mentioned that he gave you a lot of things to fix. But you've said little about what he is taking onto himself other then that he recognized that he resents you for thinks outside of your control.

I want you to do something. It's hard to do because you are giving your all into keeping this marriage. But I want you to try to let him acknowledge things that are his while you acknowledge things that are yours. And don't take upon yourself anything that is his.

Your story is striking a huge chord with me because it's a BTDT situation. And while in my case he would admit to things to work on, it never seemed to last. Looking back, it's as though admitting them was all he needed to do. And then just let me think for a week or so that he'd made changes and then he was off the hook. And then he started blaming me for not accepting his "changes" properly.

Seriously, keep this in mind. Ask yourself if he's changing long term or changing just often enough for just long enough to keep you around.

Don't mind criticism. If it is untrue, disregard it; if unfair, keep from irritation; if it is ignorant, smile; if it is justified it is not criticism, learn from it.
pinetree is offline  
#51 of 60 Old 07-31-2008, 11:36 PM
 
mooninjune68's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 99
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by violet_ View Post
Like I have to pretend I always wanted to be a stepmom and just love having his ex forever linked to us. I mean, obviously I'm ok with it, but I don't see why I should have to never have an imperfect emotion over it all. So he spent a long time yesterday telling me I don't have to be perfect and I'm a fantastic stepmom, etc.
It always seemed like there was a lot of unresolved stuff w/ his ex and you from where I'm sitting, so is this part something on which to do your own work? Could it contributing to your need for control? Also, here's a guy who had zero time between relationships, has handed over the reigns to you for most decisions, including his parenting stuff, has difficulty keeping a job, was recently diagnosed w/ a serious mental illness, and has fallen apart when his "rock of stability"--you--demonstrated some vulnerability by grieving a real loss. It seems like you've been carrying a tremendous load. If he wants to take over the parenting piece (IMO he should have done it all along), let him and don't take it as punitive. It could be that his ability to make these decisions--and fail if need be--is what saves you as a couple in the long run . . . if you can tolerate the temporary anxiety this change in control generates. Or learn to tolerate that he may never achieve your level of competence and love him anyway. You can still make yourself safe enough.
mooninjune68 is offline  
#52 of 60 Old 08-01-2008, 09:29 AM
 
mama41's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 1,058
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by violet_ View Post
The overfunctioning line struck a chord with me. I have opted to take care of things rather than have them not be taken care of, and I'm trying to stop.

Unfortunately, my first attempt at not stepping in involved health insurance, and without my input he purchased a plan that was $1000/yr over the identical plan through a different company. So it's painful to step back and see waste like that, but I'm stepping way back on those matters. It's not my health insurance and I'm not paying for it (directly) after all.
Violet, first, please don't have a child with a man who doesn't take responsibility for how he treats his children. That's really what his resentment -- or whatever it is -- comes down to. Staying near his kids or leaving was his decision, but now, for whatever reason, he says he feels it's your fault. If he won't or can't take responsibility for how he treats his stepkids, he sure won't take responsibility for how he treats your kid. The reason is really inconsequential in the end. He's responsible or he's not, that's all.

The financial thing sounds familiar to me too. One thing -- please check your state laws on responsibility for various types of marital debt and how marital property is viewed; also on how insurers are required to handle mental illness, and how his policy in particular deals with out of pocket costs for mental/nervous disorders.

I'm in a rather non-community state, so if my xh had gone out and run up credit card debt, and I'd been willing to take it to court, that one would've been his problem. But medical debt is viewed as a family matter here, and I was SHOCKED to find out that one's own property, even premarital property with all the records kept and i's dotted, sort of leaches over into joint, divisible property the as the marriage goes on.

I'm saying all this because your dh is showing that he's careless about money and practical affairs, and that unfortunately you can't take him at his word. He may even decide abruptly to drop his health insurance. Also because you need to be aware of the exposure for any chronic illness in a spouse, and afaik in many states insurers are still not required to treat mental illnesses as they do others. Which means your exposure can be unlimited, even if he's insured. It's bad enough to be unhappy; you dont have to be poor, too. (My xh's outpatient program -- the kind of thing many grad students can recall -- ran several hundred a day. If our state hadn't had a mental-health parity law, we'd have been screwed. Of course, my xh knows nothing about all this -- he really doesn't deal with personal finance and insurance, and it's pointless to explain these things to him. He's just not interested.)

I'd also caution against reading intentions and feelings into his silences. Wait for him to say something (and wait for it to be demonstrably real). It's really amazing how much non-involvement with the rest of the world can go on up there when a person's sick.

Again, I'm sorry you're going through this.
mama41 is offline  
#53 of 60 Old 08-03-2008, 09:39 AM - Thread Starter
 
violet_'s Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 1,199
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by mama41 View Post
Violet, I hope you will remember throughout these sessions, and throughout his blaming you, that he is ill. It took me years to learn not to get into an argument with a mentally ill person, and not to take personally whatever was said. You're very close to the situation and are used to talking to your sane and wonderful friend, and the tendency, I think, is to try to make whatever's being said into part of a reasonable conversation. But he is not having a reasonable conversation. See if you can step back from it. You are not responsible for his actions, his guilt, his neurochemistry, etc.

You may want to contact his ex and let her know, on the qt, that he's been ill. Chances are she's already wondering, and she may have ways of protecting the kids. Also, if you're suddenly out of touch, the kids may be wondering why, and it would be nice if she had something to tell them. This is all, of course, assuming that she's a reasonably politic person.
That part is so hard! And it only makes it worse if I tell him he's off -- he gets really upset and tells me he's fine and I need to recognize that he has an identity separate from his illness. (well, I'd hope so -- I didn't marry him for his illness). I never know if I should try to reason with him or not.

As far as his ex, she doesn't even know about his illness (at least its diagnosis -- I'm sure she knows he gets a bit messed up at times). He's no where near the kids now, so it's no problem for them.

violet_ is offline  
#54 of 60 Old 08-03-2008, 10:14 AM - Thread Starter
 
violet_'s Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 1,199
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by mama41 View Post
Violet, first, please don't have a child with a man who doesn't take responsibility for how he treats his children. That's really what his resentment -- or whatever it is -- comes down to. Staying near his kids or leaving was his decision, but now, for whatever reason, he says he feels it's your fault. If he won't or can't take responsibility for how he treats his stepkids, he sure won't take responsibility for how he treats your kid. The reason is really inconsequential in the end. He's responsible or he's not, that's all.
I really don't get how he can blame me. I know it's irrational, and even he knows it's irrational, but somehow his life choices are now my fault.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mama41 View Post
The financial thing sounds familiar to me too. One thing -- please check your state laws on responsibility for various types of marital debt and how marital property is viewed; also on how insurers are required to handle mental illness, and how his policy in particular deals with out of pocket costs for mental/nervous disorders.

I'm in a rather non-community state, so if my xh had gone out and run up credit card debt, and I'd been willing to take it to court, that one would've been his problem. But medical debt is viewed as a family matter here, and I was SHOCKED to find out that one's own property, even premarital property with all the records kept and i's dotted, sort of leaches over into joint, divisible property the as the marriage goes on.
I think we're ok on finances, as we do have a prenup. When I got it, it was a lawyer's strategy to help protect my assets from DH's ex, but anyway it exists. He does owe me money though, for this year's taxes I had to pay.


Quote:
Originally Posted by mama41 View Post
I'd also caution against reading intentions and feelings into his silences. Wait for him to say something (and wait for it to be demonstrably real). It's really amazing how much non-involvement with the rest of the world can go on up there when a person's sick.

Again, I'm sorry you're going through this.
Right now I've got mostly silence. He didn't even call last night (I'm out of town).

The thing is, when he's good he's wonderful -- he did treat me like gold. He always helped with anything and everything. He'd bring me juice every morning when I got up. He's great with the kids, and always backs me up in my role with them. He was my best friend, my romantic soul-mate, my hot lover. It's so hard to watch his personality change like this!

He says it's because of a fight we had in May, but that doesn't make any sense. The fight was in the beginning of the month and we had a great time that month. I got pregnant that month. We were so in love, as always. Nothing changed until the miscarriage and unemployment news in June. Then he switched. And he has not only switched in dealing with me, but has switched to full-on guilt mode with his ex, complete with sending her extra money.

The more I think about all his latest behavior and how he's treating me the harder it is to see a way to work it out. I really really loved what I thought I had, and I've been so happy being married to him, but I don't know how to handle the drama. And I don't understand the lack of commitment necessary to do all this less than a year into a marriage -- it's almost like he acts like it was a trial period or something. I truly want things to work out with us -- I do love him tremendously -- it's just hard to see how that happens.

I think we're going to take a little trip later this month, as we've had no sort of vacation or anything this year. Maybe it will help. I don't know.

And this may sound really stupid, but I'm seriously dreading telling people. It must make me seem crazy to have a divorce so fast like that.

I'm getting these waves of sadness at least daily and it is crushing. Last night I managed some anger too, but today I'm back to total sadness. The vast majority of the sadness is about DH and losing my wonderful love. There's also that little voice reminding me I'll never get to be a mom now.

violet_ is offline  
#55 of 60 Old 08-03-2008, 12:26 PM
 
mama41's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 1,058
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by violet_ View Post
And this may sound really stupid, but I'm seriously dreading telling people. It must make me seem crazy to have a divorce so fast like that.
Not crazy at all. More people than you know have been through the same thing. Every time I tell people about my xh I get similar stories about someone else's ex-spouse. I think you're more likely to get a "You dodged a big bullet, good for you" reaction from those who know, and a "Why did you marry a mentally ill guy?" reaction from those who don't know how deceptive these conditions can be.

This is quickly moving into the realm of NMB, and possibly not yours either, but you may want to talk to the therapist about his kids and about talking to the ex-wife. The ex may not know the diagnosis, but she and the kids are likely aware of some of the behavior. The general psych consensus is that it's good for the kids to understand what's happening, and that it isn't their fault -- this has been our experience here, too. Also, because BP is so highly heritable, if the ex can handle the news without flipping out herself, it's a good piece of medical info to know.

Finally, the kids will need to know why you're leaving them, if that's how it sorts out. It will help if there's a real reason and they understand you care for them.

The first time my xh was hospitalized, when my daughter was nearly two, I began explaining to her that her daddy had a booboo inside his head that made him feel very sad sometimes, and that this was why he had to go to the hospital. And that doctors were helping him. Since then, there've been many questions about the booboo, and while she is herself very sad about it, she understands that the booboo is why we don't all live together, and why he and I aren't married. She understands it never really goes away; she understands he has to take care of it, and that sometimes it's better and sometimes worse. That it isn't her fault, and that it's not her problem to fix; the doctors are helping. (Though she did tell him, at two, that she wanted to be a doctor so she could put something soft in his head and help the booboo.) It's something she'll be dealing with throughout her life, but she has something of a handle on it, some names for it, a recognition that it exists, and the understanding that she can talk about it -- with me and with her play therapist, and maybe with her dad. That's a good start.

If I may say, violet, I notice this is not the first batch of craziness in your life. It may be worth figuring out why. My xh wasn't my first crazy, either, and one day I realized that I'd been terminally naive about people and had failed to see the value of what I've got. If people were cutting across my lawn, so to speak, I just let 'em -- not the nicest thing, but no harm in walking on the grass, right? But next thing I knew they were on my porch having a party and carrying off my TV. I'm a lot more careful now, and I brook a lot less craziness and responsibility-shifting.

Quote:
I'm getting these waves of sadness at least daily and it is crushing. Last night I managed some anger too, but today I'm back to total sadness. The vast majority of the sadness is about DH and losing my wonderful love. There's also that little voice reminding me I'll never get to be a mom now.
Don't jump to conclusions! You may or may not grow your own; you may or may not adopt; you may or may not be married when you become a mom; you may or may not mother the same child the whole time.

You know, it can be very valuable for children with mentally ill parents to have sane nonfamily people in their lives who love them and who can provide constant support as they grow up, and maybe some of the parenting they can't expect from the ill parent. I really wish that my daughter had a good auntie like that -- she needs one. If the exwife is supportive, and if your husband is on his good days, you may still be very important in these children's lives. It needn't be an everyday thing. My best friend's aunt was 3000 miles away, and helped her greatly throughout her teen years.

I am so sorry for your loss. It can be so disorienting, too.

I'm not generally a fan of NAMI -- it seems to me they're very happy to take advantage of family to the point of abuse in their efforts to promote the rights of the mentally ill -- but they do have a support group called Family to Family where you may find real understanding. If their focus in your area is too heavily on helping your husband, rather than helping yourself, there is a group called the Well Spouse Association that can be extremely supportive. It doesn't seem to matter what the chronic illness is -- a spouse often finds that the person she married and loved is gone, and this difficult person is left in his place. Some stay married, some divorce, but the focus is strongly on the caregiving spouse -- which is what you have been, in many respects.

Anyway, enough. Please give yourself nice things now.
mama41 is offline  
#56 of 60 Old 08-03-2008, 09:44 PM
 
VisionaryMom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 3,851
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by mama41 View Post
Violet, mental illness is not like high cholesterol. You don't usually find one drug, or one mix, and bam, you're good for decades. Very often the drugs work for a while, then stop, then you have to find new ones. Sometimes you can't find new ones that work. That usually takes months or years of experimenting. Therapy for an organic disorder is of limited use; all it has to do with is management of symptoms.
You know, this issue really depends on the person and the type of bipolar s/he has. It's not something about which you can make a blanket statement. I know you couldn't continue to be with your ex because of his mental illness, but that's just not the case for everyone. No, everyone (maybe most?) isn't cut out to be the partner to someone with a mental illness, just as everyone isn't cut out to be the partner of someone with multiple sclerosis. They're ravaging illnesses, but they are in most cases manageable.

Violet, as someone with bipolar disorder, I don't know that it's an "episode." I'm not sure what you mean by that. We don't really have episodes, so I'm assuming you're talking about a depressed state. That said, he probably shouldn't be making a decision right now with the employment issues. I just think that would be true for him whether he was bipolar or not. The mental illness isn't the cause for everything.

My mom and stepdad got divorced 3 years ago. My mother felt like you - that it was out of the blue. It seemed that way. We'd just visited, and everything seemed perfectly fine. When the whole story came out, though, he'd wanted to leave for a while but hadn't had the nerve to tell her. Perhaps your husband feels the same but doesn't know how to say it.

It's us: DH , DS ; DD ; and me . Also there's the . And the 3 . I . Oh, and .
VisionaryMom is offline  
#57 of 60 Old 08-03-2008, 10:02 PM
 
PassionateWriter's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 3,790
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
violet, i am so sorry. so many ppl have offered advice here and i dont think i can add to that except to tell you that i was a single mom at 32....for a very very long time. my ds3 is 2.5 right now and we are expecting in October ((yes, at 40!!! omg! lol!).

pls. dont think you are stuck. or that you wont be able to have children. or that you dont find happines... you are a beautiful person and will surely find all you deserve.
PassionateWriter is offline  
#58 of 60 Old 08-04-2008, 10:00 AM
 
Phoenix~Mama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Lehigh Valley, PA
Posts: 5,306
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Don't ever fell like you are crazy, hon! My first marriage didn't even make it to a year... It was like some switch was flipped the moment after we had said "I do"... I became "his property" then, and was expected to do everything he told me to do just because I was his wife... he also suffered depression and was battling it big time, and was freaking out every other day breaking things in the apartment... I was starting not to feel safe there at all... I sought out counseling, and I got up the nerve to leave, but for a long time I felt like the world's biggest looser because I couldn't even stick it out a year... The most sacred vows that are supposed to mean forever.... and I didn't even last a year... I dreaded telling people too...

But you know what? In the end all my loved ones just cared about me and my happiness and well being, and I am sure the same will be for you. If you life will be hell... it is not worth it. At All.

ribbonpurple.gif  Proud Single Mama, Birth & Postpartum Doula

Student, Aspiring CNM 
treehugger.gif  DD ~ 1/7/09   shamrocksmile.gif  DS ~ 9/22/10

Phoenix~Mama is offline  
#59 of 60 Old 08-04-2008, 10:43 AM
 
guestmama 9918's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 242
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by violet_ View Post
Like he resents me because he can't see the kids every day. Mind you, the reason he can't see them every day is that he got fired and had to move. He sees them more with me than he could without, because I buy lots of plane tickets he can't afford. So here I am paying for all that and taking care of them all summer and I get hit with it being my fault he can't see them. He even said he wished he was still married to his ex "just to be able to see the kids."
I bolded the above because it blew me away when I read it. That is a very hardcore statement to make, even in passing. It's one thing to say he wishes he could see his kids every day or something along those lines. I'm sure most non custodial dads feel that way. This sounds to me like he is doing some walking down memory lane and rewriting history. That can be a very slippery slope.

Again, I encourage you to do whatever it takes to protect your heart and your psyche in this painful situation.

And my first marriage lasted about 15 months
guestmama 9918 is offline  
#60 of 60 Old 08-04-2008, 10:57 AM
 
musiclady's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: SC
Posts: 1,490
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)


I just wanted to offer some support. I've been following your thread, and just wanted to tell you that I'm wishing well for you.

Married to my best friend, expecting #1 6/09. Little angel came early- 4/10/09, 2lbs 5oz. Lilah Grace:
musiclady is offline  
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Drag and Drop File Upload
Drag files here to attach!
Upload Progress: 0
Options

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Mothering Forums forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
User Name:
If you do not want to register, fill this field only and the name will be used as user name for your post.
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Password:
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:

Log-in

Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.



User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off